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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/3/2011 (3033 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

HALIFAX -- The yellow steel fence that kept reporters far from Stephen Harper on Thursday was a potent symbol of his election campaign.

Harper is running a tight travelling show with little room for spontaneity, where national media are limited to four questions a day -- and kept a safe distance from the Conservative leader.

Harper was pressed by frustrated reporters to explain the strict control of his campaign and his reluctance to answer more questions, in contrast to the dozens that are taken by his rivals.

The Conservatives rode to power in 2006 promising greater transparency, more accountability and better access to information.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/3/2011 (3033 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

HALIFAX — The yellow steel fence that kept reporters far from Stephen Harper on Thursday was a potent symbol of his election campaign.

Harper is running a tight travelling show with little room for spontaneity, where national media are limited to four questions a day — and kept a safe distance from the Conservative leader.

Stephen Harper pours a pint at a brewery pub during a stop in Halifax.

ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Stephen Harper pours a pint at a brewery pub during a stop in Halifax.

Harper was pressed by frustrated reporters to explain the strict control of his campaign and his reluctance to answer more questions, in contrast to the dozens that are taken by his rivals.

The Conservatives rode to power in 2006 promising greater transparency, more accountability and better access to information.

"If there are other subjects I'm not addressing, I'll take 'em. What's the subject, one subject?" Harper said, ignoring the question about the limits placed on the media.

On Wednesday, following two days of questions about controversies involving campaign volunteers, Harper's team told reporters they would not answer any questions about riding campaigns.

Thursday's events followed the usual campaign script: a policy announcement made against an appropriate backdrop — this time the Halifax harbour to talk about trade deals and exports.

Harper committed to signing a trade deal with the European Union by 2012 and with India by 2013, while suggesting a united opposition would derail such talks.

A few dozen chairs were set up in front of Harper's podium where local candidates, Tory senators and other area Conservatives sat and applauded.

National media — who are paying $11,000 per person per week to travel with Harper — were asked, as usual, to provide the names of four reporters for questions, two in English and two in French.

After he was pressed Thursday, Harper allowed a fifth. A local reporter got a question, as well.

And then it was done. Harper finds time to do one or two carefully staged photo opportunities each day. In Halifax, it was at the Red Stag Tavern at the Alexander Keith's Brewery.

As with all such events, the people who come in contact with Harper are Conservative supporters or part of the planning.

 

— The Canadian Press

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